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Roots, Rock, Reggae

series: Music Voyager

air date: 6/16/13 2:00 PM

Jamaican reggae hit the world like a hammer in the 1970s, but where did reggae come from? How did this appealing, soulful sound develop, and where do the roots of this powerful tree extend? In this episode, Edgar explores the history of Jamaican music, from its African roots to the cusp of the reggae revolution. Edgar heads to the jungle for an entrancing kumina drumming session with the Akwaaba Drummers, that reveals the African underpinning of the island's music. Edgar is joined by Reggae Sunsplash founder Ronnie Burke on a journey across the island to Negril to meet Gilzene and the Blue Light Mento Band, who set up in a picturesque beachside setting to play some classic Jamaican mento. Along the way, Burke and Edgar stop at the Peter Tosh Memorial for a conversation on the life and legacy of this reggae revolutionary. Back in Kingston, Edgar connects with guitar legend Ernest Ranglin for a lesson on the development of ska and rocksteady, and an all-star jam session with Sly Dunbar and other greats. The episode ends at the magnificent Strawberry Hill resort for an intimate concert with Marcia Griffiths, a member of Bob Marley's band and a star in her own right.

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